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July 21, 2017

Rare tiger cub at Philadelphia Zoo gets new home after being neglected by its mother

A rare tiger cub born this month at the Philadelphia Zoo is moving to a new home after her mother showed no interest in caring for her young.

Zoya, an Amur tiger cub, was a part of a litter of five born on July 10 to 10-year-old mom Koosaka and nine-year-old dad Grom, the Associated Press reported. Zoya was sent Thursday to the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden where she will join three Sumatran tiger cubs born just a day before her.

“With this single cub, we knew that the best scenario for her was to find an opportunity for her to grow up with other tigers,” Andy Baker, the Philadelphia Zoo’s chief operating officer, told

Zoya, which officials say means "life" in Russian, was the only cub of the litter to survive. Two cubs were stillborn, while a third did not survive an injury accidentally caused by Koosaka. 

Koosaka did not exhibit maternal behavior toward her surviving cubs, according to the AP.

Officials at the Philadelphia Zoo consulted other facilities across the country to find a suitable integration plan, though there is a risk of the Sumatran tiger mother in the Oklahoma City Zoo rejecting Zoya.

“We are privileged to assist the Philadelphia Zoo with this unique situation and understand how crucial this cross-fostering scenario is for Zoya’s survival,” Barry Downer, Oklahoma City Zoo deputy director and chief operating officer, told

Amur tigers, also known as Siberian tigers, are most common in the southeast region of Russia. Sumatran tigers are a rare form of the species found in Indonesia. They are both endangered.